Fianna Fáil Senator, Catherine Ardagh has said that making legislative changes to the Litter Pollution Act will send a clear, strong message to dog owners and repeat litterers that our community will not tolerate those who fail to clean up after their dogs or illegally dump their rubbish.

Last week, Fianna Fáil introduced a bill at Seanad stage to place the duty of care that dog owners have towards other citizens on a statutory footing, and to also increase current penalties to control and prevent illicit dumping and littering in Dublin.

The Party’s Seanad Group Leader said, “The litter problem and the scourge of dog fouling in the Capital have significantly worsened over recent months. Those deliberately and covertly evading bin charges by illegally disposing of their rubbish are becoming a big problem in communities across our city.

“Dublin City Council picks up about 16,000 tonnes of litter from our streets and public spaces. The serious cost of illegal dumping places an unfair burden on local authorities around the country and subsequently the taxpayer, which is only set to increase.

“In 2015 alone, South Dublin County Council spent €1.3 million last year disposing of waste illegally dumped on roads and public spaces,” she explained.

“This is both an urban and rural issue that affects public health, the broader environment and important sectors such as tourism. In the longer term, if we do not address this ongoing issue it will eventually begin to impact heavily on local authority budgets and on our economy as a whole.

“As it stands, fines under the Litter Pollution Act are too low, have not been amended since 2003 and do not represent the severity of the offence or the true cost of dealing with the issue. We need to send a strong signal that littering, of any form, is unacceptable and that as a society, we will not accept the despoiling and mistreatment of our shared spaces.

We believe that the duty of care that dog owners have towards others should be placed on a statutory footing to make it easier to bring civil actions for damages akin to other health and safety legislative provisions.

“It is time that we take greater pride in our city and place illegal dumping higher on the political agenda in need of an effective solution,” concluded the Senator.